Thursday, February 25, 2016

Proud, happy and grateful

N’s Bharatnatyam annual day was round the corner and her dance guru called a meeting for parents. I found an inconspicuous corner and sat listening dutifully to the instructions. And then the teacher said, “All women have to come in saris.” (That five meters of traditional Indian garment which can be such a nightmare to drape).

I sat up in some alarm.

I had ended my relationship with the sari some 10 years ago when the twins were born. I tried to renew it once rather tentatively and promptly tripped and fell flat while carrying a two-year-old N. That was when I swore off it. Forever.

I had no intention of going back now.

The announcement propelled me from my corner and I heard myself ask, “Can we come in a suit?” For the first time, I found the full glare of N’s dance guru’s eyes on me. I have to confess here that she is rather intimidating. You know how these gurus are - unbending principles, strict discipline and all of that. While I appreciate that an unflinching attitude is essential to teach a serious dance form I have to admit it stresses me out because I am forever fumbling unsure what I might do to upset a rule. That is exactly why I try to make myself invisible at these meetings. “Let’s keep it formal,” she said shortly, “Saris only”. I quailed and looked around for support from the other mums but all of them stared back at me with a don’t-waste-time-with-such-a-non-issue look.

For once I wished I were a man. The only instruction they had was ‘don’t come in jeans’. Hey hello! How unfair was that! We are sentenced to a struggle with five meters of cloth and all they have to do is change out of their jeans! Arrrrrgh!

I receded to my corner wondering what I’d do. Should I send someone in stead of me, I thought desperately. But I wanted to see N on stage and I already had the saris but the blouses - I wouldn’t fit into any of them any longer. Something ready made perhaps would have to do. Pushing down the panic, I reasoned, once the blouse was sorted, it wouldn’t be too bad. All I had to do was dress up, sit, watch, collect N and come home. Yeah! I could do it. I’d manage.

And then I heard the guru’s assistant calling out “Where is N’s mother?” (Yeah she doesn’t even know my name - told you I always hid away) “You’re the volunteer for the Ashtalakshmi performance.” With that she gave the word ‘volunteer’ a whole new dimension and me a whole new world of panic.

'Volunteer' meant no sitting down quietly, in fact no sitting down at all. It meant tucking your pallu at your waist and taking charge of a group of girls. Their entry on the stage and their exit, their makeup and accessories, which are mind boggling by the way. N is a junior and her costume alone had 5 pieces. Then there were some 10 bits of jewellery to go with it.

Me.. a non dancer, a non ‘makeuper’, a non stage person, a non sari wearer - me - had to do all of that! And I have no clue why I was picked. I put it down to some really bad deeds of my past birth. Karma.

But it all worked out ... 

... just as most things in my life have a way of working out. Have I said this before? That I am exceptionally lucky? No, really, I am. It turned out the SIL had the perfect sari and I managed to squeeze into her blouse too. How’s that for luck?

I got dressed in 10 minutes flat. It’s amazing how it all came back to me, just the way my mum had taught me decades ago - what went where, how many pleats to go on the shoulder, how to tuck in the sari firmly so I needed just a single pin. Oooh I felt accomplished!

Besides, I had no time to fuss since N had to be dressed and we had to report early and then there were those 8 girls waiting for me at the venue.

Once there it was a blur of getting the giggly talkative bunch ready, running around with hair clips and safety pins, someone had forgotten her dupatta while another one broke her jhumka. Oh it was such delightful chaos.

Finally they were all ready and everything was perfect, N looked beautiful as did every single girl on stage. Watching the delighted, proud, excited faces around me I felt a wave of happiness wash over me or was it gratitude? Gratitude, that everything had come together so wonderfully, gratitude for being a part of so much happiness. 

I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And to think I considered not coming for the sake of a sari.


Linking up to Vidya's Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.


36 comments:

  1. This was such a delight to read early this morning. You look ravishing in the saree and I loved the pictures of you and N.

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    1. Thanks Shailaja. Maybe it's time to get my own clothes stitched :-).

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  2. It has come straight from your heart Tulika. So simple yet elegant. I can feel the true feeling behind each and every word of yours. A big hug for the achievement.

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    1. Thank you Promita. The atmosphere at the performance was one of such warm camaraderie that it felt special to be part of it.

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  3. I love you love you love you, Tulika! This is just the sort of thing I want to read in the morning. And where are the photos, Mama? Where are they? Hugs! Thank you so much for sharing! I am smiling fondly recalling how I used to be known as "the lady who comes in jeans and tshirts" when Vidur started school. They got over that quickly though. Love your post! How wonderful life is!

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    1. Isn't it amazing how people get used to seeing you in one kind of dress? When I started at my first job as a marketing person I had to wear saris every single day and if I wouldn't wear a bindi one day people would ask 'what's wrong?' and look at me now - its jeans and tees all the way. I have to thank you for your Gratitude Circle that made me relive the moment and write about it.

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  4. So good! Glad you did it. I love saris and wear them when I can. Even though I have put on a lot but a sari makes me feel cool.
    I am sure you looked lovely.

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    1. Once you get around to wearing it, its a beautiful garment Inderpreet. I am glad I did it.

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  5. hahaha..so lovely to read your account. I was giggling all the way at the description of gurus and your attitude. Great to know all went well. Could you post a pic, too?

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    1. It's true isn't it? They do fly off the handle pretty easily. Picture.. hmm will do.

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  6. A delightful read. I am glad it worked out well for you at the end. I have a similar relationship with the saree, the one you had until the performance day. I wore saree almost 5 years ago on my son's first birthday. I have told my parents I am not going to wear it ever again, not even for my brother's wedding.

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    1. Ha ha ha.. Anamika don't wait till you have to do it one day. I agree there is too much paraphernelia to go with it but if I can get back to it after tripping and falling, you can too.

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  7. What a delightful read, Tulika! I was laughing throughout! No, not at your expense, dear, but at the way you had expressed your thoughts, worries and fears! Always love to read you! <3

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    1. Thanks Shilpa. You're sweet and it's okay if you laughed - I laughed at myself too - later of course, after the stress wore off.

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  8. What, no photos? :) I am glad the dance teacher insisted on saris. Besides the 'formal' look, when the children were all presenting how they are preserving and continuing Indian cultural traditions, this is the least their mothers could have done to support this noble cause, no? :) A delightful read, Tulika.

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    1. Thank you Beloo. You're right sometimes good things happen because you have no choice.

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  9. What a lovely post this was! Made me smile :)
    And those pictures of N on stage were glamorous. You looked stunning Tulika. Please start wearing sarees again ;)

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    1. Thanks Parul. I've been thinking about it too. The comments are certainly encouraging.

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  10. How beautiful! I loved the pictures you shared on FB. And N, she looked ethereal. Hehe sari, I love the garment. It is so beautiful but only if you have to wear it for a couple of hours. I have been guilty of choosing comfy wear too. So glad you went for it.

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    1. Thanks Rachna. It's easy to fall into the 'comfy wear'. One of the drawbacks of not working in a formal office environment.

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  11. This was such a fun read Tulika! Somewhere there are a few others like moi I see, such 'sari' misfits! But nothing to beat the elegance of a well-draped sari huh?! Glad you went through the whole deal so smoothly!

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  12. I saw the photos. N looked adorable, and so did you - in your saaree. :) I wouldn't have guessed the complex relationship you have with it, which is very similar to mine. :P If I am invited to an event, which has this dress code, and if the event is something that I can skip, I will. If I have to go, and in a saaree, then that is what occupies 80% of my mental space. :P

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    1. Thank you Shantala. I thought so too. I thought I'd be moving around in a self-conscious self-obsessed haze. But there were too many things on my mind and I had no luxury to think about it.

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  13. Such a lovely and delightful post! Where are your pics in the 5 mts sari? The nation wants to see you in a sari! Aah, Parul has seen your pics? Where are they? How did I miss them.
    Glad that you all had a rocking time and everything worked our right for you ♥

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    1. Some problem with my sharing. Ha ha - the nation can see now - changed the settings. Thanks Shilpa.

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  14. I've considered the sari a form of torture so my friendship with it ended the first time I wore one in my teens at my brother's wedding. So I can relate to your pain. But glad it all went well and look forward to some pics.

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  15. Aw sad to hear that Suzy. Maybe one day just like me you'll renew your friendship.

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  16. Alls well that ends well.. You shud have put some pics .. I remember being in a similar ordeal when on a function here we were asked to come in traditional dress and I was LIKE WHATTTTTTTTTTT... I cant go in a Dhoti - Kurta :)

    so i took the easier way out went in Pyjama-Kurta :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Ha ha dhoti-kurta - yeah that I'd like to see. Now that's only fair, I think.

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  17. It was truly a fun read Tulika.. And you have no idea about how I suck at wearing sarees! I literally take an hour or more to wear that attire! I love sarees, but draping them is always a nightmare!
    Glad your mission was accomlished smoothly!

    Cheers

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    1. Thanks Geets. I was actually surprised t how easily it got draped. Guess you don;t forget somethings ever.

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  18. Beautiful post, brought a smile to my face and made my day brighter. Would love to see your picture and the little dancers' too :)

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    1. Thanks Sulekha. That's a sweet thing to say.

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  20. It all comes back does it not..

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